Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

What’s the best way to measure empowerment?

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Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) used to send me into a coma, but I have to admit, I’m starting to get sucked in. After all, who doesn’t want to know more about the impact of what we do all day? So I picked up the latest issue of Oxfam’s Gender and Development Journal (GAD), on MEL in gende…

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What works in reducing gender inequality?

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We’ve been having an interesting internal discussion on inequality over the last few weeks, and this contribution from Naila Kabeer jumped out. So I thought I’d nick it for FP2P A gendered analysis of essential services highlights the scale of the inequality challenge but it also offers useful point…

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What should we do differently when an ‘emergency’ lasts for 20 years?

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Second installment in my reflections on last week’s trip to the Eastern Congo The classic cliché of humanitarianism is the angel of mercy (usually white) jetting in to help the victims of a sudden catastrophe (earthquake, war, hurricane), helping them get back on their feet in a few months and…

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Rising food poverty in the UK

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Oxfam works on poverty in the UK as well as elsewhere, and is pretty alarmed at what it is facing there. Here Krisnah Poinasamy, Economic Justice Policy Adviser for our UK programme, introduces a new report on hunger in the UK. Today, Oxfam and its partners released Below The Breadline, a shocking r…

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Making the WTO into a force for good in Public Health

I’ve heard the name Jamie Love mentioned in reverential tones over the years, and a few weeks ago, I was asked by STOPAIDS to interview him in an ‘in conversation’ format in front of a small group of activists. It was fantastic fun (for me at least). Jamie is director of Knowledge Ecology Internatio…

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Labor rights in Indonesia’s sportswear factories

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I’d like to continue picking your brains on the drafts of a series of case studies I’ve been working on. Next up is some long term advocacy on labour rights in Indonesia. Here’s the full draft case study for your comment (PC case study Indonesia Labour Rights Project May 2014). From 1997-2013 …

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Feminists in Development Organizations: Important New Book

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At first glance, a book called called ‘Feminists in Development Organizations’ looks like a bit of aid biz navel gazing. But if you are working in a large bureaucracy and want it to do more on just about any big issue (women’s rights, but also environmentalism, disabled rights, tertiary education, u…

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Aid must change in order to tackle inequality

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Guest post from Jon Lomøy, Director of the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate (DCD) Official development assistance – or aid – is under fire. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton argues that, “far from being a prescription for eliminating poverty, the aid illusion is actually an obstacle to impr…

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What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black peo…

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How can complexity/systems thinking help small island states?

‘It’s a big year for small islands’ announced the speaker before me, who revelled in the title ‘The Honourable Lord Tu’ivakano, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Tonga’ (right). When my turn came, how should I refer to him? (I’m hopeless at this kind of thing, must come from going to a state school.) His L…

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Into the Unknown: Explorations in Development Practice: lovely (and short) new book from Robert…

Robert Chambers is who I want to be when I grow up, an object lesson in how to grow old (dis)gracefully. Funny, passionate, always willing to admit doubt and failure, and endlessly curious – he never pulls that weary ‘oh, we tried that in the 1970s and it didn’t work’ routine beloved of other develo…

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China’s Meteoric Rise

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A while ago, the Economist stepped up its China coverage and opened a separate section, putting placing the country on an editorial par with the USA. It’s taken a while to get going, but recent editions have been excellent. Last week saw a great piece on the rise of China’s NGOs (see chart). This we…

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How can Governments and Donors support Africa’s Women Farmers?

I got into a bit of hot water recently for a recent post taking down a dodgy stat on women’s land ownership, so it’s nice to be able to post on some really good numbers on gender and agriculture. Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, is an important and innovative…

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Bad Aid: How a World Bank private financing scheme is bleeding a nation’s health system dry

So much for the theory, here’s a bit of grim aid practice (and some top advocacy) to end aid week here on the blog. Lehlohonolo Chefa, Director of the Lesotho Consumer Protection Association (LCPA) reflects on a week when his organization’s report on a disastrous health experiment in his count…

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